The Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy was one of the biggest surprises for me in the last few years. I had heard of the Ace Attorney series before, but it wasn’t until I got my hands on the first three games that I fell in love with the intense stories on display. It is that experience that led me into some high anticipation for The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles.
The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a collection of two games that previously were only available to the Japanese market. Instead of the lovable Phoenix Wright, these games follow his ancestor Ryunosuke Naruhodo. Ryunosuke is a man just introduced to the world of law, with this period of Japan just implementing the court system that drives the series.
Good characters, but not as good as we have had
It is easy to see that the developers wanted to make Ryunosuke as close to Phoenix Wright as possible. He has many of the same mannerisms as Phoenix, at times making the same gestures but lacking the spiky hair. It’s difficult to say that one is better than the other because they are essentially a carbon copy of each other.
The same cannot be said for the characters that surround Ryunosuke. Following the first episode of the first game, Ryunosuke is aided by Susato Mikotoba, someone who is supposed to take the place of Maya Fey in Phoenix’s time. She does not nearly reach the heights of personality and charm that Maya and her cousin Pearl bring to Phoenix’s cases, making Ryunosuke’s experience feel like it is missing something.
What he is missing may be made up by the inclusion of Herlock Sholmes, an obvious spoof on a certain fictional detective. Sholmes is great at what he does but mixes up keywords, which send his deductions to go off the rails. To help him, you correct his deductions and arrive at a better conclusion. These portions of the game are easily the most fun I have had during the investigation portions of any episode. Back in the Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney Trilogy, I would often just get through the investigation portions so I could get back on the wild ride in the courtroom, but here, I was directly involved in finding answers right away, not the odd clue or two to be answered later.
Stories that refuse to end
While the side characters may not be what I was hoping for with The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, the story here is exactly what any fan of the past games should be expecting. Ryunosuke will be tasked with investigating crime scenes, finding clues, and talking to the people nearby to compile evidence that he can use in court to put up a proper defense. As more information comes out, the drama intensifies with twists and turns around every corner. The story is as much of a roller coaster as any you will witness in video games. The only issue I have with them is how long each episode is.
There are 10 episodes in total between the two included games, and so far, the shortest time I have spent in an episode is five and a half hours. Not that I don’t enjoy the twists and turns, but there are times I found myself pleading with the game for an episode to end, only for another twist to come up and extend the chapter at least another hour. These are not stories to rush through. You need to take your time and enjoy the ride. To get full enjoyment, you need to pay attention to the details and see how it all comes together.
While I have not finished The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles as of this writing, I have absolutely enjoyed my experience so far. I may still prefer Phoenix Wright’s cast of characters, but Ryunosuke Naruhodo shows that there is plenty of room on the defense’s side for him to leave his mark. If you enjoy the Ace Attorney games, you will not be disappointed.